News

Christmas in Colonial America wasn’t always festive

Christmas in Colonial America wasn’t always festive

CHRISTMAS IN COLONIAL TIMES: The festivities weren't always so bright in early America. Photo: clipart.com

Christmas in America has become a mixture of both secular and religious themes, a time of joy, gratitude and celebration.

But in Colonial times, it was a different story.

Surprisingly little is known about how early Americans celebrated Christmas.

That’s because historians of the day spent their time chronicling politics and wars, not holidays.

But it is known that the early settlers of Virginia, Maryland and Georgia brought English customs with them, while in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania the traditions of Holland, Sweden and Germany were carried on.

In New England, Christmas was long frowned upon. The Puritans associated it with the Church of England and the old-world customs they were escaping, including feasting, drinking and playing games.

Christmas and other holiday celebrations were banned in Massachusetts from 1659 until 1681. A law was passed declaring that anyone who observed a holiday would be fined five shillings.

The first state to declare Christmas a legal holiday was Alabama, in 1836.

Recent Headlines

in Local

Northampton Swears In Six New Cops

Fresh
Photo courtesy of Daily Hampshire Gazette

The Northampton Police Department has sworn in six new full-time officers

in Local

Newly-Minted Firefighters Graduate

Fresh
fire-chief

The Massachusetts Fire Academy has sent 22 new graduates out into the world after an intensive, six-month firefighter training program

in National

Poll: Americans skeptical of commercial drones

Fresh
drones

Americans say they are skeptical that the benefits will outweigh the risks to privacy and safety.

in National

U.S. plans to rate colleges on affordability, performance

college

The White House released a draft of its plan to tie federal aid to performance as a way to coax institutions to improve.

in Entertainment, Trending, Viral Videos

TODAY’S MUST SEE: Colbert’s star-studded farewell to ‘Report’

21-overlay4

Stephen Colbert bid farewell with the help of scores of celebrities in a rousing sendoff to the tune of "We'll Meet Again."